Just One Of Those Spaghetti Tivoli Sunday’s

Today my new friend Shane and I went to The Villa d’Este in Tivoli near Rome.

From the train station we walked the charming narrow streets of Tivoli toward the villa and were instantly greeted with a lovely, flowery scent of just laundered clothes hanging outside people’s apartment windows.  I stopped and watched one elderly woman above me as she hung out her wash, she grimaced at me after I waved to her and smiled, who could blame her, after all for some people doing laundry is an awful task, (personally I rather eat a brick) but in Italy…everything seems…so… so… so… exciting…and and… and full of life and so so so   full of life and I get excited and full of life and excited and full of life and…LIFE!  ITALY! 

As we came close to the Villa Mass was letting-out, men in their slick outfits and pointy shoes and heavily perfumed women in their Sunday best pased us. The church bells rang and all was perfect in my world.  I have moments like this at least once a day. I love Italy.

We soon arrived at the Villa and while in line waiting to purchase tickets I heard someone say that the Villa d’Este is one of the finest examples of Renaissance architecture and of an  Italian Renaissance garden. I wouldn’t know, but I do know it was awfully purtty!  

The Villa sits on top of a hill offering a spectacular view of the valley below and bluish mountain ranges off in the distance.

The garden is laid out on a central axis with additional cross-axes. The entire garden is made up of sprawling  pools of greenish blue water that are homes to slender black fish that I couldn’t identify, but of course wondered if I could eat (fried and served with lemon or maybe a caper sauce…or grilled…) Throughout the garden are statues of sleeping nymphs, over-size fish with expressive eyes, Eagles, headless figures, busts, Gods and Goddesses and a long moss-covered section of stone faces spurting water (the hundred fountains). There are five hundred jets in fountains, glistening waterfalls and bubbling clear channels and all kinds of groovy cool things I should probably know more about.

Inside the Vila the frescos are vibrant and alive and you can’t help but walk through each room at a snail’s pace because they pull you in willingly… elegantly….slowly…..finally capturing all of you … Such exquisiteness!  I noticed a young couple who sat on a bench in one of the rooms of the villa, their bodies were entwined, their heads tilted towards the ceiling, one rested their head on the other person’s upper shoulder, both of their mouths opened in absolute awe,  clearly they were walloped into utter silence by all the beauty before them. I’ve been noticing in Italy that whenever I am around something outstandingly astonishing, people tend to become quiet, they whisper…they walk slow, there is something taking place, something  great and the best part of it all, people shut their traps! But unlike me, I talk of dinner and lunch all day, especially when walking through a mock-up of a typical  Renaissances buffet in one of the Villa’s room. Although the buffet was plastic, it was still fun to imagine ripping through the buffet with my all my foodie gusto, eating away at the fruit tarts, massive cakes, puddings, roasted pheasants and quails and all the other stuff that makes me droll. …

Shane and I returned to Rome hungry and went to my place and created Spaghetti la Tivoli….or it created us or we saw it on a menu and copied it or we… whatever… it was divine…give it a try…perhaps whip-it-up in-between doing your laundry or chasing waterfalls and beautiful frescos…

Shane and John’s Spaghetti la Tivoli

One cup chopped pancetta or bacon  (packed and don’t drain after cooking!)

One small onion chopped

Two garlic cloves chopped

One can of black olives roughly chopped

One can tomato sauce (the medium size, not the large)

One can chopped tomatoes (The medium size, not the large)

Fresh Basil

About a cup of Parmesan Cheese (or whatever amount you like)

Olive Oil

S&P whatever much you like to use

In a deep sided sauté pan brown the pancetta.  Then add the onions and cook them until they are translucent. Add the olives and pour in the cans of tomatoes. Wash the cans out with a little water and add to the pan. Then add the garlic and a couple of tablespoons of Olive Oil and some salt & black pepper.  Reduce sauce until thick. When the sauce is ready, put your cooked spaghetti in the pan in small batches at a time and keep turning it with tongs, adding little dashes of grated Parmesan and the chopped basil. Go slow, what’s the hurry? This is Italy, enjoy your life. When done heap it on a platter or individual plates and cover with more cheese and basil…. Have fun, we did!


About johncpicardi

Welcome to my blog. I am the author of the novel Oliver Pepper's Pickle and the published plays The Sweepers and Seven Rabbits on a Pole, both plays have been produced off Broadway and around the US. I am a graduate of Johnson & Wales University where I majored in Culinary arts. I have a BA from The University of Massachusetts and an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University. This blog is about food and food memories and every other fantastic and scrumptious thing to do with it. My appetite and passion for food is large and runs deep, sometimes its indulgent and wild and other times wholesome and simple, often humorous and always immeasurable. I grew up outside of Boston and spent many hours of my childhood in front of the TV watching Graham Kerr (The Galloping Gourmet) and Julia Child prepare all kinds of luscious meals that would make my mouth water. Other days I’d follow my mother and two grandmothers around their simple, tidy kitchens as they busily prepared hearty fragrant meals, hand-cut pastas, preserved fruits and vegetables, baked yeasty breads, spicy cookies and frosted lopsided cakes. I was there by their side asking questions and helping where needed and there were plenty of times I was ordered to leave if I was in their way. It was a given that by the time I graduated High School I would be going off to Johnson & Wales University to study Culinary Arts. Those years were fine and good. I loved the hands on creativeness of cooking whether it be the simple lesson of washing a sink full of colorful salad greens, trussing a chicken or peeling a gorgeous carrot or the complicated lessons of making a French Country Pate or Julia Child’s Cassoulet or making Brioche, it all thrilled me and my dream had arrived!
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5 Responses to Just One Of Those Spaghetti Tivoli Sunday’s

  1. Judy Coletta says:

    Bacon makes everything taste better (this coming from the Jewish girl).


  2. Betty Anne Burke says:

    I’m going to keep track of everything on this log that I would like u to make for me when u get home. xoxo


  3. Bunny says:

    Just be very careful about turning your spaghetti with thongs,maybe your mind was still on the laundry.


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